Aviation Repair and Restoration: Tips for a Worry-Free Interior

Ahhh, how nice it is to hop on your own plane and fly wherever your heart desires. If you are lucky enough to own your own plane, or if it’s your responsibility to maintain private planes for their owners, you may have noticed there is a lot of helpful information out there concerning the maintenance of the exterior and engine of your plane. But what about the interior? Private plane owners have paid a lot of money to fly in a comfortable and well-maintained cabin and it’s important to protect the investment by keeping it that way.

We spoke to Mark J. Bollman, president of Creative Colors International (CCI), the nation’s leading repair and restoration business for leather, vinyl, carpet, fabric and more. He says there is some preparation you can do concerning the interior before you buy the plane. “You should do some research and read the maintenance log inspection history. Also, eyeball your interior. It can save you a lot of trouble down the line.” Bollman says there are warning signs prospective plane buyers should look for before they buy, such as frayed and tattered materials on the inside. Sloppy upkeep on the inside can speak volumes about the overall condition of the plane…and negatively impact its ability to retain long-term value.

Also, once you have bought a plane, you can start things off right by repairing interior damage with Creative Colors International. “Make sure that you don’t over spend on the interior replacement,” says Bollman. “If there is only minor wear on the seats and pen marks, ink marks on side panels, CCI can restore, clean or dye them at a fraction of the price verses replacement.

For a list of more specific tips, Bollman recommends this maintenance routine for your plane’s interior:

Bollman adds, “Do proper, light cleaning after every use, then a bit more thorough cleaning every 90 days, with a professional cleaning once a year.”

Some other preventative maintenance recommendations include:

  • Keep sunlight from bleaching your interior by using good tinting on the windows.
  • Don’t allow newspapers and magazines to come in contact with your surfaces. The dyes in the paper can transfer to the leather and leave stubborn stains.
  • Pay close attention to seats and armrests, where damage may first appear.
  • Use only cleaners designed for leather and vinyl that are water-based and contain no solvents. Bollman recommends a simple solution of 1 part liquid Ivory Soap to 11 parts water. Combine and put into a spray bottle for cleaning leather and vinyl.